Service of Lessons and Carols

We had a nice crowd at the Festival of Lessons and Carols this evening, about 100 people, counting the choir. As in the past few years, the Embassy Singers sang every other carol, and they seemed even better than last year. The pipe organ has also been repaired, so they had fitting musical accompaniment.

We have made a bilingual affair out of the service, which based on an Order of Service put together by Edward W. Benson, who later became the Archbishop of Canterbury, for Christmas Eve 1880 in Truro. Adaptations are used throughout the world, but it is especially liked in the UK.

We read the 9 lessons alternatively in German and English, and the carols are sung alternatively by the choir and the congregation. We include a German favorite carol, "Es ist ein Ros entsprungen" and sing "Silent Night" alternating between German and English verses. We print all the texts, translating the iffy bits from older English texts into German, and including in the bulletin translations of all the lessons read.

Since this year marks the 300th anniversary of the birth of Charles Wesley, the great Methodist founder, poet and hymn-writer, we sang both "O for a 1000 tongues to sing" (just 6 of the 18 verses, though) and his carol "Hark, the Hearald Angels Sing".

The lessons are:

  • Lesson 1: Genesis 3, vv 8-15, 17-19
  • Lesson 2: Genesis 22, vv 15-18
  • Lesson 3: Isaiah 9, vv 2, 6, 7
  • Lesson 4: Isaiah 11, vv 1-3a, 4a, 6-9
  • Lesson 5: Luke 1, vv 26-35, 38
  • Lesson 6: Luke 2, vv 1, 3-7
  • Lesson 7: Luke 2, vv 8-16
  • Lesson 8: Matthew 2, vv 1-12
  • Lesson 9: John 1, vv 1-14
It was such fun to sing all these carols in a large group, one is beginning to get into the Christmas spirit - now just have to get the shopping done....

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